Thursday, November 27, 2008

The perfect gift

What do people buy for their baby's first Christmas? Seriously, you already buy every article of clothing, toy, book, chair, stroller accessory, jumper, exersaucer or other thingamajig they could want or not even know they wanted. What do you get them? Do you not get them anything?

So, I came up with the idea to buy my baby girl a cute mouse doll, since she is a mouse (sounds better than RAT). As I guessed, people don't really make mouse dolls. I searched all of the internet, avoiding Mickey and Minnie along the way, and these were the top two contenders. One is more cartoony, one is more organic looking (I was leaning toward the organic one). My goal is to make this doll her go-to doll when she gets a little older, and it will be dragged along with her everywhere. I had one of those. It was Nurse Bonnie the Bear. God I loved that thing. It was so ratty it might as well have been a rat.

I really like the one below (if it had a girl version) but I can't buy it. It's simply a crochet pattern for sale that makes a mouse doll like the one below. Do you think I can pay the seller to make it? Or if I get the pattern, and miraculously learn to crochet, maybe I'll have it done in time for next Christmas. But that still doesn't solve the dilemma of what to get Tylo THIS Christmas.

Then, while online shopping today, I suddenly remembered - ETSY! They have great handmade stuff and maybe just what I'm looking for. I found this gem:

This is Margie the Mouse and it is absolutely perfect, and one of a kind. And, because I'm a sucker for sales, I ended up with a second one as HP's gift to Tylo, for half off.

Meet Libby the Cat. How cute are they? If you're interested, search Tiddlywink's shop on I am so excited!

This marks the first Black Friday that I "shopped". Ever.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Season of Eating begins tomorrow

I love Thanksgiving!

I really really do. I LOVE Thanksgiving!

I like how my big crazy extended family gets together. We all make a ton of food, probably more than 3 times what we could possibly eat. Most of it is already cold, I hate cold food, but the newly cooked stuff was so yummy. There's the adult table and the kids table. I'm 28 years old and I have a daughter, but I'll probably still be sat at the kids' table. Can't say I mind. At least now I can have wine without my parents' watching over me. Last year I didn't have any alcohol because I was pregnant, but no one knew anyway. And then when we all proclaim how full we are and how we can't eat another bite, someone (usually me) declares it dessert time and we make sweet soup with sesame mochi dumplings and ginger. YUM. And then there's cake, homemade Chinese pastries and lately, cookies and brownies (courtesy of me).

Since I'm an "adult" now (adult in Chinese is married with baby) , I decided I should cook too, not just bake. So, I slaved away all night making pot roast and mashed potatoes. I had to cheat and make it the night before because we have to leave early tomorrow, far drive and all. We'd be lucky to get out of the house by 11. If it turns out good, I will bring it. If not, HP and I will be eating it for the next month because I made a hell of a lot of pot roast!

Funny thing, how our Thanksgivings grew. Used to be like 5 families, or 20 people. Then it was 9 or even more families. Like 40 or more people. We started inviting everyone under the sun. We'd cram into booths at my parents' restaurant, all eating at the same time but having a million different conversations, no one really listening to one another. Maybe the loudest ones are heard. This year we're all going to Sacramento to cram into my parents' new house, which I haven't seen. It will be a small, intimate Thanksgiving this year, which are my favorite Thanksgivings anyway. Just 5 families =)


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Mother = Back Pain

Oh how I envy those moms that say they love their little diaper pods because all they need is a small pack of wipes, a couple of diapers, and they're off on their strolls, errands, whatever it may be. Their kids must not drool. Or spit up.

Why is it that whenever I leave the house I carry like 3 different diaper bags and a gigantic stroller with me? Ok, the stroller is because I don't think it's fair to put my baby in an uncomfortable umbrella stroller that has no padding and makes her sit upright while she naps. I like the features of my freakin heavy 30 lb stroller that I can't weave through narrow aisles with. But my back pays the price. You'd think I would have lost more weight getting that thing in and out of the car every day. But what excuse do I have for packing half her belongings each time we leave the house?

I've always been an over packer. I bring at least one extra outfit, two pairs of underwear, a few extra days worth of toiletries. I have sensitive skin so I can't use hotel stuff. I even bring snacks because there's nothing worse than not having chocolate in the middle of the night. I refuse to raid the minibar and overpay for anything.

So it's no surprise that with daughter in tow, I am now an even worse offender. I have to pack twice as many diapers as I think I need in case I change her diaper after she poops and then Tylo decides she's not done, which causes me to use more diapers than usual. I pack an extra change of clothes because she might spit up all over the place or she might have a "blowout" (for those that don't know, it's when the poop gets EVERYWHERE and literally blows out of her diaper, up her back, through the leg openings, mashing into her pants, onesie, whatever. I pack two extra pairs of socks in case they fall off or strangers touch them. I pack enough formula and bottles so that she could eat every two hours if need be, even though she eats every 3-4 hours. I pack one extra bottle on top of that in case something happens and I end up being out later than expected (even though I have spare ready-to-drink bottles in the car). I pack one bib and one burp cloth for each feeding, with one extra of each. I pack a book, a blanket, her giant spider toy, two extra backup toys in case she drops her spider toy. I have two pacifiers in case one gets dirty. Of course there are diaper wipes, tissues, antibacterial wipes and foam for me, and a washcloth just in case there's a really big mess. The changing pad is a must, and a disposable liner for public changing tables. And the biggest thing of all - her Baby Bjorn. Because she gets fussy and won't sit in her stroller and I can't carry my baby and push the stroller so I have to strap that giant baby on. Then there are separate Bjorn bibs. That sucker is a lifesaver but it takes up a diaper bag on its own!

Seriously, this is to give you an idea of what it's like if I want to go to the mall or something. If I go to grandma/grandpa's, then I add to that her infant chair and a swaddle blanket.

Why do I pack a farm? Because it's always what I didn't bring that I end up needing the most. And I hate being unprepared.

But I have a system when I'm running errands. Once I get it packed most stuff can sit in a car. I gave up carrying a purse and now carry a mini diaper bag with just one bottle, burp cloth, bib, paci, whatever. Then I go back to the car between stores, change Tylo there, and replenish. It's tougher when I can't keep going back to the car and I have two diaper bags in the gigantic stroller basket (it still isn't big enough).

So there you have it, a day in the life of a neurotic SAHM. I hope you're not as bad as I am and you manage to take your baby out without looking like you're taking a week-long vacation!


Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Joys of Motherhood

(Tylo after bathtime)

Today was a tough day on Tylo. I dragged her to an insanely long meeting with a real estate agent to sign the listing/disclosure papers for my parent's house. Sure, she enjoyed the first hour because I think she liked our agent, but two hours later, she cried harder than I ever heard her cry because she was exhausted and the 20 minute nap she had that day wasn't cutting it. Then we had dinner at grandma and grandpa's and when we finally got home she didn't even get her relaxing bath.

So tonight instead of trying to put her to sleep early, HP and I sat on the couch, making silly faces and noises to make her laugh. She laughed so hard and loud and was so happy from all the attention. And I thought to myself - how wonderful it is to have a little person who can be so angry with you one moment and then adore you the next. She really does love us so very much, even if we do occasionally (okay, more often than that) keep her up too long.

I love her big silly toothless smile. There's nothing I wouldn't do to get it out of her. There is no greater joy than to make your daughter REALLY laugh. Makes all those no-sleep nights totally worth it.

You know what else motherhood teaches you? To appreciate your own parents so much. Makes me want to do everything I can to help my own parents. Too bad now I have a baby attached to the hip and I don't have the time to do it.

Do nice things for your parents while you have the time to put in the effort!


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

No time for a post, but . . .

Been super busy lately. Working on a couple of special projects. Yah, don't work, so I create special projects for myself =). Plus Tylo doesn't sleep, so that doesn't help.

Anyway, no real post, but I thought I would introduce Tylo's new friend.

Here's Na-Na, the organic stuffed banana. How cute is this?

I tried to take a pic with Tylo holding Na-Na because it's the perfect size for her cute but oddly gigantic baby hands, but she had this huge boogie in her nose and I can't let my baby be published that way =P

Saturday, November 15, 2008

What did we do before YouTube?

My mom told me the other day that ever since I showed my dad how to look up Tylo's videos on YouTube, he's been watching them every night to see if I posted new ones. And they ask why I haven't posted more.

That is so darn cute. Being their first grandchild, I imagine they would miss Tylo quite a bit and wishes they could see her more. Now that they're moving to Sacramento, it will be just once a month or even two before they get to see her. I used to make a weekly trip to SF to see them. Gave Tylo and I something to do and gave me some time to run errands without her if I had them. Tylo is just starting to get stranger anxiety though, and the other day my mom said she wouldn't stop crying and went from "Ma, Ma, Ma" to "Ba, Ba, Ba". It's great to pretend she was calling for HP and I, but no, those are just the noises easiest for babies to make.

So yes, YouTube saves us. Even late at night, like now, when I miss my baby girl, I pull up the YouTube videos and watch (over and over and over). I watch how much she's changed since her 1st, 2nd, 3rd month. I guess it's my dad and I that make the "times viewed" number keep going up!

For her grandparents, I will try to add more videos. To find on YouTube, just search by Tylo's first and last name.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

You know you're anal when . . .

Today I was in line paying for my temporary (I hope) "fat" clothes at Old Navy when Tylo was getting frustrated sitting in her stroller waiting for me. The kind lady behind me was trying to make her smile, and she was successful. Tylo forgot she was in line forever and smiled a bit. I thanked the lady for her help.

Then, GASP, she reached out and tickled Tylo's toes.

Now, mind you, this is not the first time it has happened, someone trying to touch my baby. I have thought about making a big sign that says "It's flu season - PLEASE DON'T TOUCH" but I was worried it might seem assumptive, like everyone wants to touch my cute baby. Then I thought I would make a sign that says "Please ask before you touch", but that might not be any better.

Every parenting magazine will tell you that it is ok to protect your baby and ask people not to touch. Especially during flu season. But so many people out there just want to touch my baby! Don't they know babies put things in their mouths? Don't they know babies can't get flu shots and have more vulnerable immune systems and can't handle the germs???!!!! I tell myself every time that I would be brave enough to stop these well-intentioned people from touching Tylo. I have a great excuse after all, it's flu season. But some how I just fall dead silent as I see them reaching for her. A couple of times I managed to duck away, or hold an object in front of her to block the hands.

Today I cringed, but I didn't say anything. I am such a wimp. I let her toes get tickled and went to the car afterward to change her socks.

A few minutes after a little toddler boy, maybe 1.5 yrs old, came at Tylo's stroller and tried to reach for her birdie toy, the one that she ALWAYS HAS IN HER MOUTH. I didn't even think as I started pulling the stroller away from him, but he kept coming toward us. We were still stuck in line and I felt genuinely silly and bad because his parents are probably thinking I'm a freak or just super mean for not letting their baby touch my baby's toy. I ruined a perfectly cute baby moment and Tylo's chance of making any friends because I am a germaphobe.

He managed to get a swipe at her stroller and I wasn't sure if he touched the birdie or not. So I scrubbed down the front of the stroller with a diaper wipe and then switched out her toy (when I was out of sight of course). Can't take any chances.

Seriously, am I sick or what? He was just a freakin kid. I think I need help.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Election Aftermath

This post is a bit late, but I'd like to comment on last Tuesday's election.

It's hard not to get emotional. I didn't run out and buy a newspaper the following day like many others, but I was glued to the tv and had to grab quite a few tissues when Obama was declared the victor. It was definitely an inspirational moment, and I look forward to telling my daughter all about that day. My husband asked me yesterday if I thought having a black president would change anything. Of course it does. Children, especially non-white children, will get to watch tv and see that someone of color is the president of our nation. It is going to change EVERYTHING. And I'm so glad. Because race is always in the foreground of all non-white people. We are always very aware of the fact that we are not white. We might not notice it so much living in California, but I am always reminded of my Asian skin anytime I step out of my comfort zone. Even if you're not an Obama supporter, your heartstrings probably still got tugged at a bit. Will we get universal healthcare and solve the economic crisis in the next four years? Probably not, but his victory has given new dreams to the next generation.

The next big issue was not as clear cut. I watched the polls all night for the Prop 8 results and it wasn't clear until I checked again the next morning. It passed. In fact, it passed in almost all counties outside the bay area. It looked like a fight in most counties, but in the end, I saw people on tv cheering that same-sex couples will not be allowed to marry. How can you cheer to tramp on people's rights? Why are people so adamant about controlling the lives of others? What harm can two men or two women marrying possibly have on you, on your children? No argument against gay marriage makes any sense. I remember the very rainy weekend before the election. There were so many people out on in the pouring rain carrying signs for both sides. I understand the No signs, but surprisingly the Yes sign holders were in larger numbers. Why the passion over something that is not your business?

Here is a link to an online petition to reopen Prop 8:

I'm glad Tylo isn't old enough to understand that this world still has so much to learn. I hope by the time she grows up this nation that claims to give independence and civil rights to all of its citizens actually lives up to it. I hope one day a president will actually have the nerve to speak up and give equal rights to gays and lesbians and all the in-betweens. I don't think they are even against it - they just are afraid of losing votes. It's disgusting and very sad.


The Great Indoors

Been a little busy lately, running around town trying to take advantage of the last few days left of semi-warm weather. Babies seem to love being outside - the colors, movement, sounds, it stimulates them and all their senses. I don't even have to move around - Tylo would be happy on the balcony looking out. Anyway, it's getting pretty darn cold out and I worried about her our entire 30 min walk, even though she was bundled up well. And if it's raining - forget about it. Not that I'm afraid she'll get wet and cold, which I am, I'm more afraid of all the drivers out there. Just like all the other dangers out there, drivers seem that much worse when you have a little one to protect.

The other day while I was walking around our complex a very large male boxer (dog) got away from its owner and came right toward us. I had Tylo in my Bjorn and had enough sense to wrap my arms around her dangling limbs and turned my back to the approaching dog. It seemed more playful than intimidating, but I wasn't taking my chances. When it got to us, the dog actually stood up and placed its paws and tried to push me down! I knew it didn't mean harm but this was a huge muscular dog and if it wanted to, it could knock me down and maul us both. Luckily the owner caught up to us right away and pulled the dog away from us. He was genuinely sorry. Still, dog owners, no matter how well behaved you think your dog is, keep it leashed. How bad would you feel if your dog tore a limb off a baby? It doesn't help that I am NOT a dog lover. Maybe because one of my earliest memories of a dog was this little tiny one with white curly fur that bit me right on the hand.

Anyway, so I'm worried about what we will do every day during the colder months. There's only so many times you can go to the mall. And I'd go crazy if we stayed home more than two days in a row. There's only so many times you can read "Mimi's Toes" to a baby. Any suggestions?


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Homeless. FOREVER.

So we didn't get the house. We heard the seller wasn't willing to budge on his too-high list price, but we didn't know he would be so unreasonable. He's probably stubborn because he bought it two years ago, at the top of the market, and put money into it for the remodel so he's in way too deep. We bid a price that would be accurate if the market kept falling, even though comps in the past few months have been higher. Oh well, let him deal with the additional mortgage payments even though he's long moved out.

Maybe in another 3 years HP and I will find another house we can both agree on.

Time to go vote!!!! NO ON 8!!!


Monday, November 3, 2008

Homeless, forever?

So HP and I have been house shopping for, oh, 3 years. Of course we took a break here and there, during the winter months, when I was in the last few months of pregnancy. He is actively on all the MLS sites, and if I had to count, we've seen no fewer than 300 different homes in this time. No joke. Yet we're still homeless.

I blame all those people out there that drove up home prices. So don't get me started on whether I feel sorry for any one that has foreclosed on.

Prices have come down, but they didn't tell that to the sellers in our desired neighborhoods. Peninsula home prices are still so overinflated, you can't get two bathrooms for under a million. And if there is one thing I must have in a home, it's that second bathroom. I'd prefer 2.5, but will settle for 2 if need be. I just like the idea of keeping the guest bath clean and doing whatever I want to my own. I'll admit it. Since becoming a mom, I have let my bathroom get near gross before cleaning it. (I am THIS close to hiring a cleaning person but I think that would gross me out more.)

But you know what I would REALLY love? What gets me more excited than square footage and even a well-manicured back yard? A walk-in pantry. Oh, to have an insane amount of kitchen space. To have the crockpot, the hand-mixer, the food processor, the waffle maker, the flour sifter, the potato ricer, and my "good" skillet, all within hand's reach, clean and ready to use. I am so sick of clearing out the 15 pots and pans from the oven when I feel like baking, piling them onto the counter just so I can preheat the darn thing. If only . . .

Yup, that's what I want in life. So today we took a huge step - we put an offer in on a house! Our first offer on a home together (and my first ever). We actually both really like the house, not love. But if you knew how much trouble we've had finding a house we both liked, you would know this is such a rarity. The neighborhood is gorgeous, San Mateo Park. We are definitely one of the ten cheapest homes in the entire neighborhood, I would say. Tylo is going to be dirt poor compared to our neighbors, and I'll be the only one without a bugaboo at the park. I happily report that the neighborhood's Obama supporters outnumbered the McCain supporters, so I shouldn't become Republican any time soon.

It's a real charming house, very modest. Doesn't have much of a backyard, not an inch more square footage than the minimum that we need. It's been remodeled and is move-in ready, which is so wonderful, and I can imagine HP, Tylo, and Baby #2 there for a very long time, enjoying cozy family moments. So, keep your fingers crossed that we get the home, even though we did low-ball the offer.

The kitchen is not my taste (I dream of a white airy kitchen with cornflower blue walls), but newish and well kept, and very functional.